Pretty much anyone who knows me, knows I have a big heart-connection with India and Nepal. It happens pretty often that I hear a song, hear someone speaking Hindi or Nepali, or see a photograph from a close friend who is presently in India or has just returned, and I get this overwhelming urge to go. And to go soon. It consumes my mind and that hollow space between my ribs. And it takes a good week or two for it to subside, a little.
I recently shared with some students that when you travel to a place and stay for a period of time, you make friends unlike any other. These friends are instantly your family, and sometime after you return home — it could be a month or it could be year later — you start to feel an ache in your gut. Or maybe it’s your heart. And you don’t know how to sooth it because you don’t really know what it is or where it’s coming from. You are home. You’re with your family. Then why do you feel homesick?
While I was in NYC, I was a guest author/illustrator at the United Nations Junior School. (MORE on this soon — it is an extraordinary place!!) As I was saying goodbye, the principal casually mentioned a book called Going To School in India — that I would like it. I ordered it from somewhere above the clouds at 20,000 ft, and it was waiting for me when I got home. And instantly, a tidal wave of longing drenched me in the sweetest way.
Tulsi and I have been singing our way through it. Seriously. With some books, she insists on “singing it” instead of reading it. And when we opened this book for the first time, she said, “SING IT MAMA!” And so I did, and she did, too. The book is alive. It moves, smells, twirls, and dances. The kids sing and shout, giggle and gaze straight into your eyes. They invite you into their world and demand your attention.
I love it. The creators have gone on to start goingtoschool.com and inspire children all throughout India to go to school and manifest their dreams, as well as sharing their stories with children all over the world with movie-shorts. WOW. Right?